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Should I Cancel My Credit Card?

Ask Savvy: When Should I Cancel My Credit Card?

Dear Savvy,

Is it a good idea to cancel a credit card you are paying off instead of waiting until you pay it off entirely?

A: No, you need to keep a card open until the balance has been paid off completely. After your balance is zeroed out, call the issuer and ask for your card to be canceled with a note to the credit bureaus that the account was "closed at customer's request."

Find out more things to consider regarding credit card cancellation when you


Before you make the decision to cancel a card, make sure that canceling it won't negatively affect your credit score. Don't cancel a card that you've had for a long time because you want to maintain the longevity component of your credit history. Also, if it's a card with a high credit limit, you may consider hanging on to it so your credit-to-debt ratio doesn't take a hit. If you're not carrying credit card balances, credit-to-debt ratios are less of an issue, but if you tend to have balances carry from one month to the next you especially need to pay attention to this number.


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lucy10 lucy10 7 years
Out of the two of us, he's the uncomparable at it. So having a attribute greeting totality for him. lucy10 Card Deals>/a>
nyxmoxie nyxmoxie 7 years
I think most people should try to keep at least one credit card after they pay off debt. We live in a credit based world, its hard to get by without good credit. My bf had a hard time getting an apartment before I told him to build his credit, he only has one credit card, but uses it now and then. He is really good at working hard and saving his money. Out of the two of us, he's the best at it. So having a credit card works for him.
cherrylistic cherrylistic 8 years
Godd advice thanks for all the help i learned some good stuff here
ChrisMS ChrisMS 8 years
I have a drawer full of unused credit cards and only have balances on a couple which I am paying down and only use for emergencies. I recently got a notice from one I have not used in a while to inform me that they were raising my rate to 29.5 percent and if I didn't like it, basically, I could "opt" out and have the card cancelled. Since I don't owe them a dime, should I just ignor it and let them raise it to 29.5% or should I cancel the card? If I don't cancel it will my other credit providers raise my rate to match?
Fatica Fatica 8 years
Suze Orman says never close a credit card.
coffeebean929 coffeebean929 8 years
thank goodness this question was asked because two weeks ago applied for a Citibank credit card. I'm a college student and I had a problem trying to get a visa card because i got a letter back from citibank stating that I did not have a balance in a revolving account. I had no idea what that was and so I went online to get my credit history. Can i still apply for a new credit card? I used to have an AMEx card in conjunction with Delta airlines so i could get free points, but I cancelled it because i didn't want to pay the $75 annual fee. What credit card company should i apply to if i can't seem to get one from Citibank?
acyl acyl 8 years
Great comments! I am currently paying off a high-interest card and consolidating debts. It feels SO good! I heard on NPR recently that the credit bureaus WILL NOT say how exactly they calculate scores. It's a "trade secret" or something. And that it's not their responsibility to catch mistakes and errors--it's ours. They definitely don't make it easy to get and keep a high score--it's something that requires some education and monitoring!
WeTheLiving WeTheLiving 8 years
So, could the people who work for credit card companies answer a question. My bank signed me up for a credit card without even asking me. I just looked at my account and suddenly had a credit card, so I called them and I guess it was some kind of benefit. I had been thinking about getting a credit card, so I just kept it. Then I found out the interest rate is 18%. So I want to cancel the card, but one of my friends said not to cuz it will show up during credit checks and look bad. I've never once used the card, so there's no balance on it, and I'm always paranoid it's going to get stolen or lost and I'll have to deal with the card I don't even want. So is there a way to cancel the card without it showing up on my credit reports or hurting my credit?? Thanks!
mlen mlen 8 years
yes agreed- thanks for the advice! i keep my oldest cerdit card open- its about 10 years old now. i use it for small purchases but i don't want to lose out on the benefit i get from owning the card for so long.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
For all the people who work for the credit card companies - thank you so much for all of your advice. Very helpful.
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
bigskinny, I don't work for a credit card company but I just checked my own credit report and it said the number of accounts with balances can be a factor in determining your score. So if there's an account whose balance can be paid off right away, it might help. That way you get double points - you've decreased the overall debt load AND you have one fewer account with a balance.
bigskinny bigskinny 8 years
for those members who work for the card companies... My spouse has several "little" cards that he has almost maxed out. Needless to say, he's not very card savvy... We recently came into a nice chunk of cash and I am wondering would it be best to pay them OFF or DOWN? We are trying to improve his credit score to apply for a home refinance. My credit is good, but his is abysmal... Any word of advice?
saxjonz saxjonz 8 years
I agree the whole credit thing. However, I also believe that not all people are lucky to get decent paying jobs and circumstances don't always always allow people to live debt free. Often times people get caught in unlucky circumstances (although I personally believe you create your own destiny and luck)that they fall in to and have to take loans out. On the flip side I see people I personally know living rich buying things they can never hope to pay off and now they are losing everything house included. Glad I didn't move in with them as I seriously take charge of my finances and never get in to those sorts of positions. My father said the best credit is no credit at a time when he made a killing that advice stuck in my head thank God. I have credit cards with well over 37k limits but my balance on my card never goes above what I can pay off within a month or two. Had I taken student loans instead of paying my school in cash I bet I would be making quite a bit more money than I do now. Sometimes credit is the cheapest way out. Most times it is a trap that people get in to they can't dig themselves out of.
iwilli02 iwilli02 8 years
I also work for a Credit Card Company. There are a number of experts that are monitoring a sharp rise in what's called Chasing Down the Balance. What happens is that you pay down your balance & the CC company lowers your limit; this happens until your account is involuntarily closed. This is starting to become commonplace. One renowned expert has said that he expects 45% of all credit cards to be involuntarily closed over the next few years. Personally, I tell people to hang onto their cards as long as they can. If you want the best source for info on what affects your credit (FICO Score) go to This site is run be the Fair Issac Company; they're the ones who calculate your FICO score & report in back the the Credit Bureaus.
Adomini24 Adomini24 8 years
To add to that, I work for a credit card company, and ..... to people who have cards for like more than 6 years and high credit lines, be careful about cancelling the card.... you credit score will drop. This article is head on. Like the person above me, alot of people dont know that when we tell a customer the bill amount is 20 dollars on Sept 10th, and they pay on Sept 30th, the actual bill amount is different. Why??? because of daily finance charges. Call us to get the payoff amount. One guy called to cancel a card that he had for 14 years, and the credit line was 36,000. I couldnt tell him that is credit score was about to drop like a rock in water.... kinda sad people are so ignorant about credit.
flamiss22 flamiss22 8 years
I work for a credit card company and I am surprised that most people do not know this important fact. When you cancel a card and unless you have been paying the balance in full every month there will be one final bill due after you pay off the card. This is called residual balance payoff. This consists of the final month accrued interests. Make sure you call the company within thirty days to have this credited or if ignored will grow to an ungodly amount and can ruin your credit. Also people who pay in full each month and does not benefit the bank at all are tagged as non beneficial card members to the bank. We are instructed never to return any kind of fees or give any credits. Also if they threaten to close their accounts because of this we are actually encouraged to do so.
gil2690 gil2690 8 years
I would agree with anything you say Ilanac13...
kboo kboo 8 years
i have recently paid off all my debts and my credit score went up 50 pts. this last month thought it went down 3 pts. can't figure out why it did that. no new activities on my credit. so how now do i get my score up and should i start cancelling my credit cards and getting the request by consumer put on my file or what..just looking to up my credit score...thanks..
SugarKat SugarKat 8 years
I thought that I canceled a card once, but then I tried to open another one and they just reopened the old one. It got all messed upand now I'm going to pay it off and just cancel it for good.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i'm so glad that you agreed with my thought process. there are a few accounts that i have open that have zero balances cause i think that it looks better for credit bureaus to see that you have the lines there but that you don't use them. i don't even have the cards for them at least - since if i get a replacement i cut them up.
thelorax thelorax 8 years
Right, that's an important point of clarification, valancyjane. I didn't mean the ratio for the individual card, I meant that since they held no balance AND my other cards hold no balance, the ratio remains 0:0 even after cancelling them.
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
About the credit/debt ratio: It's important to know that this is calculated by looking at your whole credit picture, not individual accounts. So transferring balances will not help your credit score, at least by this measure. It seems obvious now that I think about it, but it surprised me when I figured this out recently. As I pay down my debt, I do want to close some of my accounts; but I've been told to do it slowly, with 6-12 months separating the closures, so your credit score has time to recover.
thelorax thelorax 8 years
I cancelled two really old credit cards yesterday and feel relieved now having done so! They were store based, and I'd used them a couple times for discounts, but hadn't even carried them in my wallet for upwards of 2 years. They were just a liability and didn't really impact my credit to debt ratio, since I pay off full balances every month and carry no debt forward.
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